Buccal Fat Pad Removal

Graves’ eye disease patients have increased expansion of the buccal and facial fat, which changes the appearance of the face. This can be quite distressing to patients and is under-appreciated or dismissed by most physicians. There is evidence that shows the facial fat expands in Graves’ disease leading to a changed facial shape. Fortunately, this fat can be reduced and the facial shape restored to the normal appearance with a relatively simple surgery including buccal fat removal.

Defined cheekbones and a tapered lower face are tenets of a younger, more attractive appearance. But for some people, their lower cheeks have a puffy, chubby look. In more dramatic cases you equate the look to that of a chipmunk. Even the volume loss in the lower cheeks that comes with aging often doesn’t lessen these full cheeks.

But removal of the fat pad that’s causing the puffy, rounded cheeks can slim and taper the lower third of the face. The procedure is known as buccal fat pad removal, and Dr. Douglas performs the surgery in his Beverly Hills and Shanghai offices.

What is Buccal Fat Pad Removal?

The buccal fat pad is one of several encapsulated fat masses in the cheeks. Located in the cheeks between the nostrils and the corners of the mouth, it is a deep fat pad that usually decreases in prominence from when we are babies to later childhood years. But in some people this fat pad stays prominent, creating full cheeks. The goal of removing the buccal fat pad is to thin the cheeks, specifically in the area of the cheek hollows. This surgery is only appropriate for patients with chubby cheeks; those with thin, narrow faces can acquire a gaunt look if this fat pad is removed.

Buccal Fat Pad Removal Before & After

buccal fat pad removal

Who is a Good Candidate to Have Buccal Fat Pad Removal?

During your consultation with Dr. Douglas, he will tell you what kind of results you can expect from this procedure. Generally, these would be characteristics of patients who would benefit from this surgery:

  • Patients with puffy, overly rounded, chipmuck cheeks, or a square face
  • Patients whose mid-face lacks definition and who seek a more tapered face
  • Patients who want to accentuate their cheekbones


Find Out If You Are a Candidate

How is the Procedure Performed?

This procedure is usually done with the patient under location anesthesia with sedation. Dr. Douglas makes an incision on the inside of the mouth on the lower portion of the cheek. He then simply removes the buccal fat pad. The entire fat pad, which stretches up to nearly the temples, is not removed. Just the area around the cheekbones is removed a little at a time. Because the incisions for both cheeks are made in the mouth, there is no exterior scarring.

When Will I See Results After This Surgery?

After this surgery, you’ll likely have some swelling. Bruising is unusual, however. You’ll see an immediate difference in your cheeks, with a thinner, more contoured cheek area. There will be a depression beneath the cheekbone and the cheekbones will appear higher. Swelling can last up to three weeks, but then you’ll start to see your final results. Swelling can linger in some patients, however.

See What Our Patients Are Saying:

“Dr. Douglas is one of the most knowledgeable, caring, and attentive surgeons I have ever met. he really takes the time to give his patients all the attention they need. His expertise in prominent eyes, thyroid eye disease, and orbital issues is unmatched. His office staff is very kind and professional. I would recommend him to my friends and family.” -Jean K.

What Is Recovery Like After Buccal Fat Pad Removal?

After your surgery, you may be advised to stay on a liquid diet for several days. This can vary with the patient. You’ll also need to use special rinses to reduce the risk of infection on the incisions inside your mouth. This isn’t an overly painful recovery, and your incisions will heal quickly.

Are There Any Risks Involved?

Beyond the typical risks involved with surgery, infection, bleeding, poor wound healing, and the like, with this procedure there is also a chance of nerve damage, numbness in the cheeks or lower face, skin puckering, unwanted depressions in the cheeks, lumps, and asymmetrical results. Sometimes the final results are not as dramatic as the patient would like.

buccal fat pad removal

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